WORKING AS A TEAM

by Krece Harris

Hello Ropers, it is great to be back for the sixth article. I hope your summer of roping has been great and the previous articles have helped you with your roping. I would like to discuss the importance of working together as a team during your run. There are so many draw-pots out there now which makes it easier to go and compete but many times we do not know who the person is that we are roping with. As mentioned in previous articles about the steps for the headers and heelers, we need to make sure every time we back in the box and execute fundamentals, we also work with the person in the other box.
Headers, you have to do your job as if there is not a heeler over there to help you. If the steer runs straight, right or left, you still have to go catch them. Many times heelers choose to stay back because they are watching what the header is doing and this allows the steer to run to the right fence. Now the header has to change position and move up higher on the steer to be able to catch without hitting the fence with their loop. I stress so much to all of the heelers how important position is, and if the heeler is in proper position, they will not allow the steer to run to the right fence. Remember, the shortest distance from point A to point B is a straight line. Both header and heeler serve as the hazer! Heelers need to let the steer know they are out there to the right but not haze the steer left while the header is trying to achieve position. Just as a header needs to understand that if they get to position and swing several more times, they automatically become the primary hazer and the steer is going to move right in front of the heeler.
I like to start my heel horses with the gate. That does not mean I take off running at the steer. The haze is created the first ten feet out of the box. So if I am ten feet out of the box and ahead of the header, I have established myself as the primary hazer. At this point, I throttle my horse to wait on my header to move forward to position and I can then hustle to position working with the header to keep the steer running the straight line or pattern. If we do this, handles become more consistent by headers and heelers catch rates are higher because they are in place to follow the steer off the corner or set and rope. Now, we are team roping because we are working together as a team to control the environment of the steer. If we control our environment instead of the steer controlling us, we make more consistent runs. Oh, and this is also allows us to make faster runs without trying to be faster. I always tell my students, control is fast! We can slow down and work smarter to be faster.
Until next time, best of luck with your roping. Rope smarter, not harder!

Thank you and God Bless!
Krece

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